Are Women Earning Less Than Men in the Legal Field?

  • At each level of promotion, male lawyers earn more than females. Male of counsel earn roughly $20,000 more than females, male non-equity partners earn roughly $27,000 more than females, and male equity partners earn almost $90,000 more than female equity partners.

  • Hard work pays off for men much more than for women. At firms with high hours requirements, male equity partners earn a whopping $140,000 more than women in the same position.

  • Women's representation at the level of equity partnership — those partners who own a portion of the firm and enjoy the greatest compensation, prestige, and power — accounts in the average large firm for only one in six of all equity partners. The survey shows a continuing lack of progress in moving women lawyers into more senior positions, even as they continue to be productive and profitable for their firms.

  • Law firm governance is overwhelmingly conducted by male lawyers. Women comprise only 15% of the members of law firms' highest governing committees and fewer than 10% of managing partners. A remarkable 15% of large firms have no women lawyers on their highest governing committee.

  • Firms today are more liberal about allowing part-time practice, which may enhance their ability to retain women lawyers grappling with work and family responsibilities, and almost all firms have implemented women's initiatives, although their content varies widely along with their prospects for effectiveness.

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